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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: B193077
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 01/18/2008

The trial court did not err when it allowed Garcia to represent himself while he was mentally incompetent. Appellant chose to represent himself at trial for animal cruelty and exhibiting a deadly weapon. He identified the charges against him, made motions, corrected the court on a sentencing calculation, and requested a jury. His cross examinations of witnesses demonstrated an understanding of the charges. After consulting an expert, the trial court concluded that appellant was competent to stand trial. The record supports this observation. Garcia demonstrated a rational understanding of the proceedings and charges against him. Therefore it was not error to allow him to represent himself.
The trial court did not err when it imposed the upper term sentence. The trial court imposed the upper term for the animal cruelty conviction, identifying aggravating circumstances which included appellant’s lengthy criminal record. Appellant’s record of recidivism supported the upper term sentence and did not violate his right to a jury trial.